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NO BS – The 12 things you REALLY need to do if you want to build a six figure business online – Part 1

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Making money online is like using a very potent drug.

Once you see significant amounts of money from a product or affiliate sale hit your account, you’ll never really be the same again.

My name’s Onuora Amobi and I am the CEO of Learn About The Web inc.

Learn About The Web™ is an online education platform I created to provide universities with the tools and services they need to credibly teach online business. Businesses and consumers also use our tools and services to learn the steps to creating successful online businesses.

A little about me

Onuora-Amobi- CEO-LearnAboutThewebI started my online journey accidentally 14 years ago. I was a very well paid enterprise software consultant who was on the road traveling all the time.

You can take a look at my Linkedin profile and see some of the companies I worked for when I was a little younger.

Inevitably on weekends, rather than fly back to my home in California, I would end up in some foreign city (insert Miami, New York, Plano etc etc here).

Being a bit of a nerd, I found that dabbling on the web was a good intellectual exercise I enjoyed and it actually helped me relax after a very long week.

Well, what started out as dabbling turned into a hobby, which became an obsession and then became my life’s passion. I was able to quit my day job 6 years ago and have made my living on the internet since.

I have made a LOT of money (several hundred thousand dollars) online and I get irritated when I read some of the BS get rich quick prescriptions for making money online.

I would love to share the 12 most important things people need to do if they are really serious about making money online.

I promise you that these are not the touchy-feely lists you are used to but are actually based on substantial amounts of real life experience.

This is part one of a three part series so let’s get started with the first 4 attributes.

Focus on Education

online-education698

This industry is first and foremost about education. You have to know what the different elements are that are available to you.

  • Is my idea for an online business viable? How do I research that idea?
  • How do I design that idea and then get it built?
  • What can I outsource? Should I just buy a website?

On and on the questions keep coming and they never stop.

The difference between being successful online and throwing your money away is knowing the answers to those questions.

Insert Shameless Plug – That’s why I started Learn About The Web. I realized that people simply didn’t know where to even begin and they needed a guide through the process.

(Really) You need to put the time in

numberofhours-final

It’s so fascinating to me that people equate making money from blogs or software online as something cool fun and easy.

No one looks at medicine, law, architecture that way but they see online business as easy.

It’s not. In fact I’ll tell you a couple of secrets that you almost never hear.

  • It’s hard to get started.
  • It gets harder every year.

People get confused because it’s cheaper and RELATIVELY easier to get started than being a lawyer or doctor. That doesn’t make what we do a walk in the park.

In order to be successful in this business, you have to know what the heck you are doing and that ONLY comes with time. The sooner you start your website, fail and get back up, the quicker you’ll get to your success.

Online business is way more fun that law or engineering or any traditional discipline because there’s so unlimited potential – you can be as successful as you are smart.

On the flip side, it’s also more challenging than law or engineering or any traditional discipline because the learning doesn’t ever stop.

Never.

Web tools, trends and technology change all the time and there is always something new to learn. It all takes time.

Here’s one of my favorites – Fail cheap, often and well

Michael Jordan Fails Well

I have probably built about 50 websites over the past 14 years and most of them were glorious failures.

I have built sites about immigration, online dating, technology, cars, finance, you name it. It was a fun process for me because I learned how to get 10 people a day to my website. That was AMAZING.

Then I learned that if I changed some text or chose a different topic, maybe 100 people a day would come. Real live people!!

Then maybe a thousand or 10 thousand or my all time high – 50,000 visitors in one day!

Quick aside – when that many people come to a site that you built from your head with no one else’s help, I simply cannot explain that rush to you. It’s a drug!

I only got to that point because I learned how to fail.

These sites cost me very little money. I learned that my major cost was my time.

You see it was cost effective for me to start a small web business, see how far I could take it, fail, learn from those mistakes and start again but just a little smarter.

I learned WordPress, Photoshop, PHP, HTML, CSS, Copywriting, Outsourcing, Affiliate Marketing and lots more by failing well.

Efficient failure is a great skill to learn.

Never forget that this is about adding value. You and your audience both have to win

Mutually-Beneficial698

This is by far the easiest lesson to forget and the hardest one to learn. This is also the quintessential online marketing trap that new entrepreneurs fall into.

The biggest temptation that will hit you when you make your first thousand, 10 thousand, 100 thousand or million dollar payday will be to DO IT AGAIN.

This is almost always the wrong move to make.

You always need to take a step back and continually ask yourself the following:

  • Am I adding value to my audience?
  • How am I adding value to my audience?
  • Am I honestly trying to help them achieve a desired outcome?
  • Am I primarily driven by money?

The relationship between you and your audience (if done well) is actually very intimate.

You are a content provider. You (hopefully) provide something that your audience likes and wants and they start to really trust and depend on you.

You need to make every effort to keep that circle of trust intact. Your business will (literally) depend on it.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog series where I talk about finding your voice and being clear.

Use the comments below and let me know if you agree or have gone through any of these steps as well.

Onuora Amobi is VP of Marketing at Learn About The Web. He has an extensive background in both Online Marketing and Enterprise Technology solutions.

10 Comments
  • http://kbanjarmasin.blogspot.com/ Dheavy Bungas

    Wow..amazing thank you very much.

    • http://latw.wpengine.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Thank you for your comment! I am glad you found this interesting.

      🙂

  • Cliff14

    Part 1 definitely didn’t disappoint! I can’t wait for parts 2 and 3. Onuora, if you don’t mind me asking, what site has been your most successful and which site did you get 50,000 visitors in one day? I’m guessing they’re the same site.

  • Leonard

    I love this. A real look at how the sausage is made, Onuora. You’re keeping it real. My favorite part was when you correctly pointed out the stigma that online business is easy. When did this come about and why do people think this way? I don’t get it.

    • http://latw.wpengine.com/ Onuora Amobi

      People always think it’s easy… funny huh?

      • Angela

        It is funny. 🙂 Somehow people equate being your own boss with freedom. That’s a very minor aspect of it, but newsflash: being your own boss also comes with much more responsibility and work. It’s a beautiful thing for driven entrepreneurs, but online business is FARRRR from easy.

  • Biz12

    Onuora,

    This is just a great idea. Plain and simple. The first 4 lived up to my expectations, and I’m sure the next 8 will surpass them! Bravo!

    • http://latw.wpengine.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Thanks!

  • Cody Z

    I love the everything about this article! The Michael Jordan quote is a bit cliche, but it’s just so true. Take that with the you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take quote and you have a great philosophy for entrepreneurs. Trying and failing is part of the process. Expecting immediate success in this line of work is a pipe dream.

  • CholeCash

    Just an excellent read. You and your audience both have to win is so simple and also so insightful. If either one is missing, it won’t work in the long run. Thanks for this! 🙂

Editorial

Who approved never get Hulu as an ad slogan?

I’ve seen some DUMB ad campaigns in my life but Never Get Hulu is by far the worst one I have ever seen in my life.

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Never get Hulu

I was watching the Emmys last week and then an ad came on.

It had a ton of celebrities who were serious and telling me to listen and pay attention.

They start to talk somewhat comedically about a bunch of things I should never do – never fly first class, never get a king size bed, never get a walk in closet etc etc.

At this point, there are hints of comedy creeping in…

Until the final punch line “..and most importantly Never Get Hulu”.

My wife and I are marketing professionals and immediately looked at each other thinking the same exact thing.

Who at Hulu gave the green light to this ad?

Why would you get people’s attention and use the words “Never” and your brand name in the same sentence? From a marketing perspective this seems extremely stupid.

Yes, it gets people like me writing about this and talking about it and sharing the ad. Got it.

HOWEVER, it imprints very negative keywords next to your brand name into people’s psyche’s forever.

Never Get Hulu.

I absolutely don’t get it but hey what do I know, maybe they know something I don’t so I should probably take their advice.

I DEFINITELY won’t get Hulu.

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Caching

Digital Marketing Tip – Implement Fragment Caching

Fragment caching works by identifying sections of code, which take up time and resources, and caching just those sections.

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Implement fragment caching

As far as performance goes, WordPress is brilliant for a smaller website, right out of the box. Your front-end pages load very quickly, data is retrieved from the database and saved to it very fast on the back-end.

But, when you try to add loads of content, with loads of metadata for every post, then you will start to see things slow down, considerably. This is quite common and there are plenty of ways to sort the problem out.

Use a Caching Plugin

Caching plugins are the most used tools on WordPress websites, a way of speeding things up and there are plenty to choose from.

Each plugin has its own approach but, overall, the bit that slows everything down, i.e. a page that needs to load, is placed in a temporary location for storage.

That way, when the page is requested again, it can be retrieved much quicker because the stored page is called on instead of the front-end page having to be loaded each time.

However, once this storage reaches an age which is determined beforehand it will be removed and then recached to make sure users don’t get old data.

Some of the best plugins for this are:

  • W3 Total Cache
  • W3 Super Cache
  • WP Fastest Cache

Because each has its own method of doing things, each plugin has its own set of pros and cons. Overall, the popular solutions have one common problem – they cannot cache data for a logged in user.

This might seem to be something of an oversight; after all, why cache data if your editors or your users won’t see the benefit? It might interest you to know that this has been left out intentionally and for a very good reason.

Imagine that your website has exclusive content that is only for subscribers who pay for it. If you cache the data for this content, there is a good chance that you could serve it to users who do not pay for it which allows anyone to get your content without subscribing.

So, does this mean that a website driven by membership cannot take advantage of caching? Of course, they can.

This is where fragment caching comes in.

What is Fragment Caching?

In the scenario above, we cannot cache all the content on a whole page load, but we can still use caching. Fragment caching works by identifying sections of code, which take up time and resources, and caching just those sections.

This means your unpaid subscribers don’t get to see the content reserved for those who pay.

How much time you can save will depend on how many fragments are cached but, where you have a large and complex website, the time savings will soon add up.

How do we implement fragment caching? Very easily, thanks to something called the Transients API. This is a storage method for temporary data that has an arbitrary timeframe.

Have a look at this example:

// Get an existing copy of transient data, if there is one
if ( false === ( $foo = get_transient( ‘foo_transient’ ) ) ) {
// Nothing was found or the transient has expired; regenerate it!
$foo = someExpensiveCodeOrQuery();
set_transient( ‘foo_transient’, $foo, 2*HOUR_IN_SECONDS );
}
// Use $foo somehow

On the second line, we have called a method called get_transient and this will try to pull up the cached value for foo_transient. If there is a transient and it is still in date, the cached value is returned and the code will then move to the seventh line.

If no value is found, a value of false is returned and the third, fourth and fifth lines will then be executed. The result is $foo being saved under the name of foo_transient and an expiration time of two hours is added.

Fragment caching is not a method to fix everything but it can be an incredibly useful tool for reducing page loading by seconds and, as we all know where page loading times are concerned, every second counts.

Combine fragment caching with other methods of speeding up WordPress for significant gains in speed.

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Editorial

The ONE skill most digital entrepreneurs do not have

After many years of mentoring digital entrepreneurs, I find that there is constantly one core skill they do not start with…

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Writing skill entrepreneurs

Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of being a digital marketing mentor to a lot of MBA students and entrepreneurs.

I have always loved being able to help people who are just discovering what the internet can do for their businesses and how thinking asymmetrically can create growth and profits online.

In the process of mentoring a lot of these awesome people, I started to see a common trend and it profoundly affected me and has made me rethink everything about the way I teach digital business.

The internet is awesome.

It’s made it possible for an entrepreneur or a small team of people to create websites and online applications that compete against much larger businesses. This because they have mastered some skillset that is in demand and have figured out how to share it profitably with the rest of the world.

I used to believe that when entrepreneurs are starting to learn about starting an online business, they needed to learn everything about business, tools, terminology and technology.

While those are all important, there is one critical skillset that is often missed when people are learning to build digital businesses.

The ability to write properly and eloquently.

Frustrated writer

I have been stunned and shocked to see people who can master every other component of digital marketing be so intimidated by a blank screen or sheet of paper.

Lots of entrepreneurs are terrified of writing. They love building products, selling products, tinkering with website elements, landing pages and doing everything else but they are scared to actually learn how to write compelling content.

The irony is, they love consuming content from other writers!

My story

When I built one of my successful online businesses, it was based on Microsoft Windows. I realized that to really understand how to create compelling content around software, I had to learn how to write. Even about a topic I was only peripherally aware of at the time.

So I did.

I wrote over 7,000 articles in less than 8 years.

I wrote on websites, syndication sites, on financial sites, press releases, landing pages, editorials and more.

I started one article at a time and did it so much that it became second nature. I was edited by tough editors at sites like Seeking Alpha and had to rewrite content often to get it published. It was tough starting out but I learned.

Eventually, my content was so compelling that my website had 50,000 daily visitors and in 2010, I received a Microsoft MVP award for the Windows Desktop.

Build Conference Anaheim

Me at the Microsoft Build Conference in Anaheim California – 2011

My ability to write got me into conferences where I met most of the popular technology writers I had always admired. I was a member of the press pool at Microsoft events – because I learned how to write.

That business made me close to a million dollars based on my digital marketing abilities BUT at the end of the day it all came down to one thing.

The ability to write and express myself.

It’s critical.

I learned this the hard way

When I would walk entrepreneurs through digital marketing basics and eventually get their sites up and running, I would find out that they either didn’t know how to write or hated writing.

That changed the way I teach.

Now I start off with a basic digital writing and copywriting class.

Once my students are able to write somewhat decently and properly, only then do we move to keyword research, idea validation etc.

My advice to entrepreneurs starting out

If you have an idea for an online business, you should take a writing class. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product or a service, you should learn how to write.

You should head to online resources like Udemy and search for “writing”.

Yes, you can hire a copywriter to do some things for you but the truth is, even the best copywriters can’t replace you.

Customers and clients are drawn to YOU. 

They come to your site, connect to you on social media and respond to your content because it’s YOU. This is true for every kind of business and it’s also why the most effective way to sell professional services online is with your blog.

The blog allows customers and visitors to see how you think and figure out whether your values are compatible with theirs. If they like how you think and express yourself, you’re more likely to make that sale or convert that visitor.

Also practice writing!

“I’m not a good writer!” – that’s a common refrain I hear.

No one starts out as a good writer. No one.

Some people do have natural talent but even that takes honing and practice until it’s perfected. Write one hundred articles in a month and I GUARANTEE you that the first and last article will be dramatically different.

The bottom line

The ability to express yourself is one of the most critical skills you can develop as an adult. It’s what gets you the VC money, what gets you the raise at work, the first date with a significant other and what gets your content to convert.

Learning how to write can change your life. I know this because it changed mine.

If you don’t know how to write, learn and if you’re a good writer, practice. This skill is often the difference between success and failure online.

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